- "One of the graceful Harlequins comes to beckon my presence? My my... for one such as yourself to demand ME is flattering, especially the fear you hold for those who simply mimic my Dark Lord. Shall I make you suffer for your bravado dear dancer, or shall we play first?"
- —Hadrak, The Visceral Artist, upon their first encounter
The galaxy has it's fair share of ghost stories; whispered tales of supernatural beings of mysterious origin and capricious intent, shadowy folklore that haunts the psyche of a thousand generations, all while being dismissed as baseless rumors born of fear and superstition. Within the confines of the Corribra Sector, those ghost stories speak of a dread specter, a masked daemon who preys upon the unwary and decorates their corpses with a fell rune to mark his kill. To some he is the Dreadwalker, to others the Masked Ghost, but all native Corribrans name him Sigil, the Terror of Opleia.
Unbeknownst to them, the being they name Sigil is neither an unearthly apparition nor a warp-born daemon, but something far more terrifying. He is a Solitaire, an Eldar Harlequin who roams both the Material and Immaterial realms in his ceaseless quest, for he has gazed the words of Cegorach himself, and has learned that if the Great Halequin's will is to be done, he must complete his destined task. He must find the man-turned-daemon who calls himself the Visceral Artist, and banish him back to the Aether before he sets in motion events that will befoul the Final Act and spell the doom of the Eldar race.
A Simple Life
Before he was named Sigil, he was named Enshae, the child of a pair of tribal Exodite Eldar native to the Maiden World of Mydrieth. A wild and primal place, Mydrieth was akin to a single unblemished stone in a storm-tossed ocean of stars and planets, isolated and untouched by the constant bloodshed that wracked the galaxy, and yet it was no idyllic paradise. Home to all manner of saurian monster than flew, swam, or crawled, the nomadic tribes of the Exodites moved from place to place, following in the wake of the herds of massive Megadons and savage Carnosaurs that roamed the rolling plains and verdant forests.
It was a hard life, fraught with danger and death, but it was a simple one. Enshae's father taught him how to hunt and how to track prey, how to wield and blade and survive within the deadly wilds. His mother taught him of the myths of old, of bloody-handed Khain and noble Asuryan, of beautiful Isha and ever-jesting Cegorach. Perhaps more than any other within his tribe, Enshae was enraptured by these stories of old gods and ancient magic, feasting on every syllable as though it were some form of literary sustenance. Even the tragic tale of the Fall stole him away to a paradise of imagination, to the point where his childlike wonder was replaced with a childlike curiosity. Soon, he no longer wished to recount myths and legends, but rather seek them out.
Mydrieth had it's own share of stories to tell, folktales whispered around campfires in the dead of night, to scare children and make elders smile warily at their antics. Enshae's favorite had always been the story of the Wraith, a terrifying apparition said to haunt the cursed Bloodwoods, where the birds never sang and the parasitic Slaughter-Oak grew in scarlet groves. It was said that the Wraith was a nightmare given shape, an ancient specter that preyed upon the living out of spite, feasting on their life-essence to prolong it's own undead existence. It claimed the Bloodwoods as it's domain and hunting ground, and all that entered were doomed to be devoured.
In the dead of the night, as his Tribe lay sleeping at the fringes of the blooded groves, Enshae crept out of the camp and into the Bloodwoods. It was a foolhardy action, for even in the more benign woodland areas of Mydrieth straying from the camp in the dark meant death, but Enshae was driven by an insatiable curiosity. One look, he promised himself, just one look into the crimson treeline and then he would return to the camp. Yet, the crimson treeline proved to be labyrinth of foliage, the Slaughter-Oaks packed so tightly together that their branches blotted out the light of the moon and stars. Fumbling through the dark, young Enshae stumbled and fell, wandering aimlessly in search of an exit. Soon he came upon a small clearing, and with the moonlight shining down from above, Enshae spotted a flicker of movement in the corner of his eye and turned... to gaze upon the Wraith.
It was impossibly tall, robed in a voluminous cloak the color of the void between stars, and even while wreathed in light the material of it's garb seemed to suck in the radiance, devouring it with all the malignancy of a black hole. A massive cowl hid whatever features it might have possessed in it's folds, save for the mask it wore. Already paralyzed with terror, it was the mask that broke Enshae from his trance, for it's perfectly androgynous features tore at his very soul. It spoke to something buried within the collective consciousness of his species, of a malicious monster birthed of vice whose first cries had nearly ended the Eldar. It's name whispered in the breeze, faint yet terrifyingly distinct:
She-Who-Thirsts... She-Who-Thirsts... She-Who-Thirsts...
Enshae screamed and ran, tearing his gaze away from the Wraith and fleeing from the clearing. Roots and stones tore at the soles of his feet, the thorn-covered bark of the Slaughter-Oaks lacerated his skin as he fled, but he cared not. He had to get away, away from the Bloodwoods, away from the Wraith, away from the mask. Somehow he broke free of the Wood's suffocating embrace, where his tribesmen found him the next morning, curled into a fetal position, babbling incoherently into the grass. It took a full week of ministrations from the Tribe's healers before Enshae finally regained some semblance of lucidity, and even afterwards he remained haunted.
For every time he lay down to rest, he saw the dreaded mask in his dreams.
Servants of Slaanesh
As he grew, Enshae thought less and less of his encounter in the Bloodwoods, letting the trauma of that event slowly sink into his subconscious until him haunted no longer. He was a fully-grown tribesman by then, and he had no time for ruminating over childhood fears, not when he had duties to preform and hungry mouths to feed. Like his father and grandfather before him, Enshae became a hunter, journeying out into the beast-infested wilds of his homeworld to dance with death for the sake of all manner of resources. Oftentimes armed with nothing more than bone-tipped spear, he faced down the saurian monsters of Mydrieth, slew them for their life-sustaining meat and bones and hides, and brought his kill back to the encampment at the end of the day before collapsing into a bedroll. Then he would awake as the sun rose the next day, and the cycle would repeat itself. Life was hard, but it was simple, and Enshae would not have had it any other way.
But fate rarely allows for such an uncomplicated existence, and Mydrieth, for all it's tranquility, was by it's very nature a target for those enthralled by the Dark Prince of Chaos. Within the confines of the Immaterium, the psychic might of it's World Spirit was a tantalizing prize, attracting predators like hounds following a scent. But now, after so many years of searching, the hounds finally descended upon their prey...
(MORE TO COME)
- "What are you?!"
- —A terrified cultist of the Baseless Masque
- "I am necessary."
- —Sigil, before slaying him
Sigil became a Solitaire because he resigned himself to the fact that the Eldar would be inevitably devoured by Slaanesh, and therefore their was nothing he could do save simply wait for the end. So he wandered, performing the role of She-Who-Thirsts in a hundred different Masques and drifting aimlessly across a thousand different worlds, for no other reason other than he simply had no other vocation. But, with the revelation of the Final Act, everything changed.
For the first time in millennia, Sigil can see a glimmer of hope on the horizon, for if the words of Cegorach are true, then perhaps his race is not as doomed as he believed. Now his every waking moment dedicated to making that hope a reality, and his single-minded determination to complete that goal by slaying the Daemon Prince Hadrak. He is willing to hunt the Visceral Artist to the literal ends of the galaxy if need be, and anything that impedes that goal can either step aside or be slain.
One could hardly tell this by interacting with Sigil however, as like most of his kind he very rarely speaks and almost never shows any signs of emotion. But rather than exuding an aura of potent melancholia, the Solitaire is simply calm at all times, regarding everything he lays eyes upon as though he has seen it's like a thousand times before. Then again, considering how long he has lived, it's very likely that he has.
Lithe and tall even by the standards of the Eldar, Sigil is always seen clad in his void-black Dathedi holo-suit, complete with a voluminous cowl and sash-like belt. Multicolored diamond patterns sparsely decorated a few sections of his garb, representing the heraldry of his former Masque; the Darkest Dawn. Whether this is a sign of nostalgia or merely a facet of his outfit he never bothered to change is only known to Sigil.
Sigil is also never seen without his mask, an intricately crafted object depicting a horned, androgynous face set in a seemingly calm expression. None know what lies behind that mask, even Sigil himself having forgotten what he truly looks like, for ever since becoming a Harlequin there were precious few times when he was not wearing some form of mask.
A truly formidable fighter, Sigil has several lifetimes worth of experience combating all manner of opponents, from eldritch horrors to all manner of terrifying xenos to the varied forces of the Imperium of Man. His speed and agility have been honed to supernatural levels, allowing him to close the distance between him and his intended target in the span of a single heartbeat. Once amongst his foes, he is a whirlwind of scything unarmed blows, his gauntlet-mounted weaponry making short work of all but the most skilled opponents as he moves with the grace and elegance only a seasoned Harlequin can muster,
Sigil has oftentimes shown a particular preference towards stealth, picking off opponents one by one while uses his considerable acrobatic ability to fade into the shadows unnoticed. Many an unwary adversary has turned his back on an ally only to turn back and find his ally's neck broken and a diamond-like Solitaire rune carved into his flesh. He also has also proven to be exceptionally skilled with a sword, though none save Hadrak himself are aware of this, as he has only and will only draw the ancient blade he carries in the presence of his destined quarry.
- Agaith Mask - Depicting the daemonic features of Slaanesh himself, Sigil's "false face" inspires unearthly terror in all that look upon it, particularly other Eldar, as to them this mask represents the ultimate fear of their species.
- Dathedi Holo-Suit - Like all Harlequins, Sigil wears a psychically-activated bodysuit incorporated with built-in holoprojectors that transforms him into a dazzling blur when moving. The faster he moves, the more intense the effect, to the point where he resembles nothing more than a prismatic lightstorm. This makes him near-impossible to accurately target, allowing him to easily avoid enemy attacks.
- Flip-Belt - Resembling a colored sash, this garment contains a miniscule anti-gravitic generator keyed to activate upon mental command. With it, Sigil can leap and bound over even the most towering of obstacles with ease.
- Harlequin's Caress - Mounted upon Sigil's left wrist is a Harlequin's Caress, which when activated encases his left hand in a phase field that allows him to reach through armor and flesh as though he were running his fingers through air. With it, he can rip out an enemy's heart or crush their brain within their skull in an instant.
- Harlequin's Kiss - This deadly weapon consists of a sharpened tube containing around 300 feet of mono-filament wire, mounted on Sigil's right wrist. The tube's armor-piercing tip, when plunged into a victims flesh, releases the lashing razor-sharp wire directly into the unfortunate's body, liquifying their insides in a matter of moments.
- Storied End - When Sigil emerged from the Black Library, intent on hunting down the Daemon Prince Hadrak, he took with him the ancient blade Storied End to aid him on his quest. A sword supposedly blessed by Cegorach himself, Sigil wears it belted at his hip, and yet has never grasped it's elegant wraithbone hilt and drawn it from it's sheath save in the presence of the Visceral Artist. Why this is remains unknown, but rumors say that Storied End, if plunged directly into Hadrak's black heart, has the power to banish him so deep into the warp he will not re-emerge for millennia...
Feel free to add your own
As it was written in the Laughing God's own words, if the Final Act is to proceed as planned, the youngest of Slaanesh's Daemon Princes must not be allowed to persist in his current path. For one day soon, Hadrak will reach the apotheosis of his power in the coming of the Rhana Dandra, the End of All Days, and befoul Cegorach's great jest. Exodite, Craftworlder, Dark Kin, and Harlequin alike will be devoured by She-Who-Thirsts and the Eldar race will perish, unless Hadrak is banished back into the Aether before the End of All Days falls upon the galaxy. So it is written, and if Sigil can succeed in his quest, so it shall be.
Armed with the Storied End, a blessed sword capable of imprisoning Neverborn with their own realm, Sigil has set out to make sure the coming catastrophe does not come to pass, and is willing to pay any cost to see the will of the Great Harlequin fufilled. But as determined as he might be, Cegorach's words were never clear on who the victor of their final confrontation shall be...
A fellow Harlequin, if one of a differing role, Cruel Glee and Sigil have performed together before, both onstage and on the battlefield. When working together, Cruel Glee will often cause some kind of immense massacre as a distraction while Sigil sneaks off to pursue their true objective, effortlessly puppeteering the reactions of lesser races. While both of them work together as effortlessly and with flawless proficiency as one would expect two Harlequins to do, their true relationship is unknown, with Cruel Glee often purposely employ much more visceral and cruel methods in his dance.
- "I have a role to play. We all do."
Feel free to add your own
- "Heheh... the hunter finally finding his prey? What will you do now? Shall we dance, will you make me suffer? Oooh.. I hope it's both. It has been far too long since the last time I've had the pleasure of dancing with your kind. Like them you shall fall upon the master's blade. Like them you will look at me with fear in those eyes at the fate waiting for you. Unlike them... you're a FAR superior delicacy."
- "I want that murder enthusiast's jeggings for my collection of celebrity carny-wear!"
- "The Eldar race will perish? Sounds good to me. Your people are a total waste of carbon. And you're not very funny either."
- —St. Athaliah the Flame answering Sigil's monologue on the laughing god, Hadrak, etc.
- "What wonderful jests these Mon'keigh are capable of, brother. Come, let us show these base primates just how amusing we Eldar can be."
- —Cruel Glee, in response to the above quote.